One of the most rewarding benefits of a career in massage therapy is that there are so many career opportunities that extend beyond the traditional spa or health and wellness center. 

From sports medicine to cruises and resorts, there are close to a dozen different verticals you can take those hands to make money and establish a steady career. And many of them are here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, from Wilkes-Barre to Scranton to the Poconos.

Factor in personal practices and onsite massages, and you will start to realize that there is no ceiling as to how much you can make or do with a massage therapy career. 

This guide will detail all of the different occupations where a licensed massage therapist can work and provide tips to help you choose the right career path. 

Medical Massage Therapy

A medical massage therapist’s role is to alleviate pain and promote healing in patients. Using their hands, they can promote healing for general pain or specific pain issues related to the back, joints, nerves, and much more. 

In turn, there are several different verticals and areas where a medical massage therapist can work, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation Clinics
  • Physical Therapy Clinics
  • Chiropractic Practices
  • Nursing Homes
  • Hospice Care

These roles tend to pay very well, depending on what field you find yourself working in as a medical massage therapist.

However, they can be more rigorous and demand longer hours with more intense work than traditional massage therapy roles. 

Spa and Wellness Centers

If you’re looking for a traditional massage therapy setting with essential oils and candles, then a spa or wellness center will be right for you. According to the AMTA, 42% of all massages occur in a spa, and spas are the number one place where consumers receive massages.

As a result, spas and wellness centers tend to provide the largest employment opportunity for young massage therapists looking to establish a career. 

In this setting, your role may range from providing stress relief massages to creating personalized treatment plans aimed at alleviating pain. If you’re looking for a low-stress work environment that promotes self-care, then dimly lit rooms with calming music will add charm to your workspace.

Spas are also a great setting to use different therapeutic massage methods learned during your massage therapy program. The wider your range of skills, the higher your employability and the amount of salary you will receive. 

Fitness and Sports Facilities

Massage therapists come in high demand at fitness centers with the potential to make a really high salary, depending on your employer. 

Working alongside physical therapists on the health care team, these professionals use deep tissue techniques to alleviate pain and promote stress relief. A fitness-based massage therapist has a wide range of employment opportunities, from your local high school to professional sports programs that offer tons of money. 

Depending on the level of athletics you work for, travel may be required.

Massage Chain

Massage chains are a popular employer among many new and aspiring massage therapists. These chains offer specialized massages to clients in a professional setting, similar to a spa or wellness center. While the pay may not be as high in other fields within massage therapy, you are almost always guaranteed a job in some capacity. 

Onsite Massages

Personal massages for businesses and individual clients are a burgeoning space within the massage therapy industry. Massage therapists can act both as specialized massage therapists, offering pain management and relief or as general practitioners promoting positive healing through their hands. 

Cruise Ships and Resorts

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that cruises and resorts are among the top three employers of massage professionals. It’s no surprise, as vacationers often seek stress relief through relaxing massages to enhance their holiday experience.

Besides offering therapeutic services amidst breathtaking views, working on cruise ships lets you explore new places while earning. However, it’s not all fun and games; maintaining high standards in such upscale environments demands dedication and professionalism from therapists.

In resorts, too, masseuses contribute significantly to guests’ wellness programs by providing deep tissue massages or specialized treatments like hot stone therapy. 

Depending on the employer, wages will vary, though cruises and resorts tend to pay among the middle of the pack when it comes to massage therapy employers. 

The Role of Specialized Massage Therapy

Acquiring certificates in different specializations, such as Swedish massages, Shiatsu massages, and more, will increase your likelihood of being employed. 

While you’ll learn about much of this when you become a massage therapist and get licensed, it still pays off to invest in yourself and acquire more certifications for your resume. 

Starting Your Own Business

Use your massage therapy skills and client list to start a private business for yourself. There are plenty of opportunities to scale a business in traditional massage therapy, physical therapy, pain relief, and more. 

You can even start your own wellness center, spa, and private massage business using the skills acquired through years of massage therapy school and experience. 

Work Schedule and Flexibility

A career in massage therapy is not only rewarding but also offers remarkable flexibility. Whether you choose to work part-time or full-time, the choice largely depends on your personal preference and life situation.

You might prefer a consistent schedule at a spa or medical facility, where appointments are typically set up for you. However, if flexibility appeals more to you, consider working independently. This lets you set your own hours and control how many clients you see each day.

Many therapists trained at NEPA School of Massage have found success in both traditional employment settings as well as entrepreneurial ventures such as owning their own practices.

The beauty of this profession lies within its adaptability; it can accommodate different lifestyle needs while providing an opportunity for fulfilling work that contributes positively to people’s health and well-being.

FAQs: Where Can a Massage Therapist Work

Where do massage therapists make the most money?

Massage therapists earn top dollar in the medical and sports fields. However, massage therapists can earn even more through independent practice. 

What is the highest level of massage therapy?

The pinnacle for a massage therapist is becoming board-certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB). It demonstrates advanced education and professional standing.

Who works with massage?

A variety of professionals collaborate with massage therapists: doctors, chiropractors, physiotherapists, and fitness trainers. They often form part of an integrated healthcare team to maximize patient wellness.